Hot start helps No. 25 Wildcats top Jayhawks, 73-60
MANHATTAN, Kan. – In the first installment of the 2017 Dillons Sunflower Showdown, a hot start to both halves of the game helped No. 25 Kansas State top Kansas, 73-60, on Wednesday night inside Bramlage Coliseum.
In both the first and third quarters, K-State (13-4, 3-2 Big 12) started with favorable runs that aided in its double-digit lead for most of the game. While the Jayhawks (6-10, 0-5 Big 12) were plagued by slow starts in two periods, Kansas outscored the Wildcats in the second and fourth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome its in-state rival.
Redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington’s career night paced the Jayhawks’ offense on the road. Washington scored a career-best 31 points on a 10-for-14 (.714) effort, including a 7-for-10 (.700) mark from long range. Her 31 points led all scorers for the fourth time in KU’s last five games as Washington registered her ninth double-digit scoring performance of the season.
Washington’s seven triples are the most by a Jayhawk in a single game this season and since senior guard Timeka O’Neal made six last season against Kansas State. The most 3-pointers by a Jayhawk in a single game is eight, which was set in 1996 by Charisse Sampson against Iowa State. Sophomore guard Kylee Kopatich was the only other Jayhawk to net double figures after recording 11 points, her third game in a row in double figures.
Senior center Breanna Lewis led the Wildcats with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the year. Senior guard Kindred Wesemann netted 12 points behind a 3-for-5 effort from the field, while junior guard Karyla Middlebrook added 11 points and seven assists.
Kansas State opened the 115th meeting between the two programs from the Sunflower State with a 16-0 run before the Jayhawks were able to score. Kopatich ended the Wildcats run with the first of two KU 3-pointers in a row. After narrowing K-State’s lead to 10, the Wildcats charged ahead once again and ended the period with a quick 6-3 run. After the first 10 minutes of play, Kansas State led KU, 22-9.
Nearly three minutes ticked off the clock in the second quarter before junior guard Chayla Cheadle scored the first points of the period with a move under the basket. Kansas and Kansas State went on to trade baskets until Washington heated up from the 3-point line. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native hit back-to-back treys, which cut the Wildcats lead, 30-21, with just over four minutes to play in the first half. The Jayhawks’ offense continued to apply pressure and chip away at the deficit as K-State was forced to keep its top defender Lewis on the bench with two fouls.
Kansas trailed by as many as 16 in the opening half, but after outscoring the Wildcats 17-11 in the second quarter, KU headed to the locker room at halftime down, 33-26. After connecting on 75 percent (3-of-4) of her attempts from long range, Washington paced KU’s offense in the first half with nine points. Kopatich added eight points in the opening 20 minutes after converting 50 percent (3-of-6) of her attempts from the field.
The Wildcats came out of intermission with a 12-0 run, extending their lead back to double digits. Washington halted the run to start the second half with her fourth triple of the night. After scoring four unanswered points, KU went on a scoring drought for the next three minutes before Washington was able to make a bucket for the Jayhawks. In the final seconds of the third quarter, the Jayhawks and the Wildcats traded 3-pointers, and K-State headed to the final period with a 57-36 lead.
Each time that Kansas attempted to get something started offensively, K-State found a way to steal the momentum right back and wouldn’t allow the Jayhawks to get back in the game despite the hot shooting from Washington. Senior forward Jada Brown and Washington combined for five unanswered KU points before the Wildcats responded with a layup. Despite outscoring the Wildcats in the final period, 24-16, Kansas State won the first edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown, 73-60.
The Jayhawks return home to host their annual superhero game on Sunday, Jan. 15 against nationally-ranked Baylor. Kansas closes out the 2017 series against the Lady Bears with a 1 p.m. tipoff, inside Allen Fieldhouse, on ESPNU and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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